Congrats! You made it! You're a senior! Pretty soon, you'll be where I am, packing up your room and heading off to the next chapter of your life. But hold on, slow down a bit. You've still got some time left here in high school, and senior year can be the most exciting or stressful time, depending on what you make of it.
Most probably, you're thinking of heading off to college next summer. Good choice, because so far, college is pretty great. Applications have been out for about a month now. If you're stressing, DON'T! You still have plenty of time. Make sure to do your research carefully, but don't worry about picking your dream school just yet. Work hard on your applications; remember, that stack of paper is the only thing colleges will get to know about you, so make sure all of it counts.
But, don’t stress yourself out unnecessarily either. Just because that stack of papers and list of numbers is all colleges see doesn’t mean that defines you. It’s incredibly important to remember that! You are a lot more than that, my friend. Don’t lose your mental health over something as silly and trivial as this. One of the biggest lessons I learned while applying for college is that it really does not matter where you go, it matters what you do once you get there. Aim for the highest and the best, but don’t be disappointed if you missed. You’re still going to great, great, great things. Take it from someone who was denied from her dream college, the University of Chicago, but who's still doing fine for herself wherever she ended up. There’s still plenty of opportunities. Oh and, make sure you don’t procrastinate. You have plenty of time, of course, but don’t wait for the last moment either. Do a little bit each day, or a little bit each weekend. This way, it’s much less overwhelming and leaves lots of room for continued mental functioning.
Once you’ve submitted your applications, reeelllllaaaaaxxxx. Relax. It’s over, you can’t change anything and nothing’s gonna happen when you’re fretting over it. You did it! You applied! Celebrate! And then, take a seat, preferably by the window, and get ready for the best year of high school. I’m not exaggerating when I say this. Senior year is by far the best year. By now, you know the lay of the land, you know the teachers, you know the people, you know what’s happening, so you can just enjoy the moment. Enjoy your last high school dances, go out with your friends, explore your hometown. Make time for old friends; you'll regret it when they leave and you didn't get to say goodbye. Have fun, go to parties, be excited for graduation, do those things that you’ve always wanted to do while in high school, because this is your last chance to do them. Don’t leave high school with regrets. But also, don’t forget to keep studying hard, stay on top of your grades—colleges really do look at all of your senior year grades.
On your last few days, remember to pause a bit to be thankful (even though all you want is to get OUT OF SCHOOL). This school is where you came from, where you learned, where you made friends, where you’ve spent so much of your life. Even if you hated it, it’s important. Say goodbye to your favorite places, favorite teachers. (Read this article on What They Didn't Tell You About Graduating and share it with your friends).
Senior year is going to be great. Just believe that it will be, and do what’ll make it great for you.